Cedric Morris and Christopher Wood
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, until 31 December 2012
Subtitled ‘A Forgotten Friendship’, a new exhibition at Norwich Castle tells the story of the little-known personal and artistic relationship between two important modern British painters, Cedric Morris and Christopher Wood.
Left: Cedric Morris, 'Harding Down, Llangynwyd, Bridgend', 1928. Gallery Oldham. Gallery Oldham / © Cedric Morris Estate. Right: Christopher Wood, 'Newlyn', 1930. Glasgow Museums. © Culture & Sport Glasgow (Museums).
The latter is best remembered for his close contacts with the School of Paris in the 1920s (including Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Jules Pascin, as well as the Russian ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev); his later work under the influence of the Nicholsons and Alfred Wallis in Cornwall; and his opium addiction and untimely suicide in 1930, at the age of 29. But the exhibition shows that the British artist Cedric Morris, who would later lead the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, also had a pivotal effect on Wood’s development, and vice versa; the artists were friends in both Paris and London, and travelled together to the French and British coasts to paint landscapes in similarly naïve styles.
Last chance: Edge of Arabia
Old Truman Brewery, E1, until Sunday 28 October
Sunday is the final day of a large group exhibition of Middle Eastern and North African art at Old Truman Brewery on East London’s Brick Lane, organised by arts collective Edge of Arabia.
Abdullah Mohammed Alshehri, 'Attar - Riyadh', 2012. Installation shot at the #COMETOGETHER exhibition of contempory art from the Arab world by Edge of Arabia, London 2012.
Some of the artists will be known to Londoners – such as Kader Attia, the French-Algerian artist whose work Ghost (2007), a tin-foil installation of Muslim women in prayer, was shown to acclaim by the Saatchi Gallery in 2009’s ‘Unveiled’ exhibition – while others, from Lebanese photographer Sirine Fattouh and Saudi street artist Abdullah Alshehri, are emerging names new to a British audience.
Cathy Wilkes and Shio Kusaka
The Modern Institute, Glasgow, 27 October — 24 November 2012
The consistently interesting Modern Institute gallery in Glasgow opens two very different exhibitions this weekend, both worthy of note: the first Scottish solo show of Belfast-born Cathy Wilkes since she was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2008, and a presentation of ceramics by the Japanese-born, Los Angeles-based Shio Kusaka.
Left: Cathy Wilkes, 'Untitled', 2012, Oil on canvas, 18.5 x 25 x 1.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. Right: Shio Kusaka, 'Untitled' (grid 29), 2012, Porcelain Courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York.
Wilkes assembles readymades in intriguing installations that imbue the objects with new meanings and associations. A common motif is a mannequin, whose quasi-human presence, for the artist, represents the viewer. Kusaka is distinctive in the fact she creates no two ceramics the same. Each work is less a pot, more a unique sculpture, which, while inspired in shape by the traditions of Japanese pottery, borrows pattern and colour from a wide range of more modernist art aesthetics.
Last chance: Goshka Macuga
Kate MacGarry, E2, until Saturday 27 October 2012
The doors close on Saturday on a solo show of work by Goshka Macuga, a Polish-born artist now based in London, who, like the aforementioned Cathy Wilkes, was also nominated for the Turner in 2008 (Mark Leckey won the award). The following year she presented a celebrated installation in the newly expanded Whitechapel Gallery, in which a tapestry of Picasso’s Guernica was shown alongside a meeting table and historical documentation about war and the role of the United Nations.
Installation view of 'Goshka Macuga' at Kate MacGarry. Courtesy Kate MacGarry, London.
Macuga has attended to history again in the series of pieces on view at London’s Kate MacGarry space in Shoreditch. The works were commissioned by Warsaw’s Zachęta National Gallery of Art and they consider recent examples of censorship and controversy in the Polish art scene – for instance, the uproar after the presentation at Zachęta of Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture La Nona Ora (1999), which depicted Pope John Paul II hit by a meteorite. Macuga shows photographs that document these scandals, but the protagonists in the images are turned into silhouettes, their own bodies censored out of history.
Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings
Hepworth Wakefield, 27 October - 3 February 2013
Barbara Hepworth, 'Concentration of Hands II', 1948. Private Collection. ©Bowness, Hepworth Estate, Image courtesy of Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert. While Henry Moore’s drawings of Londoners sheltering from the Blitz are known as a key part of the artist’s oeuvre, Barbara Hepworth’s ‘Hospital Drawings’ of surgical procedures – draughted over a two-year period from 1947 as the NHS was being established – will come as a wonderful discovery to lovers of modern British art.
Thirty of these works are on display from this weekend at the Hepworth Wakefield, including the sculptor’s sketchbook, all drawn from various private and public collections. Heads, mouths and noses covered, and draped in their web-like scrubs, the figures have something of the supernatural presence of Moore’s Londoners in their underground bunkers, until one focuses on the warmth and humanity in their eyes.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine